The Esquimaux sometimes use slabs of ice for the walls of their huts, cementing them together with snow and water. Kennels for their dogs are also made of the same material. The late Admiral Sir W. Edward Parry, in the course of a voyage commenced in May, 1821, the chief object of which was the discovery of the North-West passage, availed himself of a winter's imprisonment in the ice, to observe and record the ways and manners of the Esquimaux, whose guest he was. His account is on the whole satisfactory. |I can safely affirm,| said he, |that, whilst thus lodged beneath their roof, I know no people whom I would more confidently trust, as respects either my person or my property, than the Esquimaux.|
He also described their domestic character. The affection of the parents towards their children showed itself in a thousand ways, and the children on their part have so much gentleness and docility as to render any kind of chastisement unnecessary. Even from their earliest infancy, they are said to possess that quietness of disposition, gentleness of demeanour, and uncommon evenness of temper, for which in more mature age they are for the most part distinguished. Disobedience is scarcely ever known; a word or even a look from a parent is enough.
These traits, added to industry and endurance of various kinds of difficulty, form the fair side of the picture, such as that amiable and distinguished officer was fond of presenting. The exhibition of these features of character was probably called forth, in a great degree, by his own kindness and good management, whilst living among them.